LSU will hit the practice field today to begin preparation or the Citrus Bowl matchup with Notre Dame. The 15 practices that will take place over the next three weeks, both here in Baton Rouge and in Orlando, are about more than just getting ready to try and grab one last win for the 2017 Tigers. They are where the first seeds of the 2018 squad are planted.
Somewhere around half of the sessions will be dedicated to self-scouting and player development, as LSU’s coaching staff will have the time to work with younger players, such as redshirt freshmen, that just don’t get as much work during a typical game week of practice.
Here’s a quick rundown of the positions that have a lot to gain over this bowl prep:
- Quarterback: duh, and/or hello — Danny Etling has earned his final start in a Tiger uniform, but the competition to replace him begins today, in earnest. Myles Brennan will be the odds-on favorite, but he’ll have to beat classmate Lowell Narcisse in an open competition that will almost certainly last through next summer. Narcisse has an absolute cannon for an arm and a lot of athletic ability, but just hasn’t played a ton of football over the last few years battling knee injuries. Veteran Justin McMillan will also try to make his last play to get on the field as well.
- Running Back: Clyde Edwards-Helaire and Nick Brossette haven’t seen many touches on offense this year, but even with some talented freshmen coming in, will be needed next season.
- Receiver: Two seniors are departing, and 27 catches are returning between Stephen Sullivan, Drake Davis, Derrick Dillon and Dee Anderson. There’s talent there, but nobody that’s ever stood out in any consistent way. Who wants to step up before another talented freshman class arrives?
- Linebacker: Two seniors will be outgoing, plus Arden Key. K’Lavon Chaisson, Ray Thornton, Michael Divinity, Tyler Taylor, Jacob Phillips and Patrick Queen will all want to fill those spots alongside Devin White.
- Cornerback: Greedy Williams will be ready to become the next DBU superstar, but with Donte Jackson and Kevin Toliver likely heading to the pros as juniors, who steps up? There’s the vet Xavier Lewis, the young talent in Kary Vincent and the former five-star enigma in Kristian Fulton. There’s also special teamer Jontre Kirklin, whom Corey Raymond is very fond of. And once again, there could be some five-star freshmen coming in wanting their own spot, so now’s the time to start staking that claim.